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North Island Notes

North Island Notes
Having fallen truly in love with the raw, sprawling magnificence of the South Island, I got onto the
ferry at Picton with trepidation, not sure what to expect of the North Island, except more people
than in the south. I arrived on a gloomy, raining afternoon in Wellington and must say that I was
overwhelmed by the city itself; by the amount of people, cars, traffic, city sounds, shops, colours
and buildings. I arrived at the backpackers I was staying at for a night and crashed, determined to
go exploring over the next few days to find the gems I could feel were glimmering in this notoriously
colourful and cultural city.

I went to the Te Papa museum and cannot recommend it highly enough. The staff are very
knowledgeable and willing to share their information with you enthusiastically. The layout is logical
and the displays are distinctive, fascinating and memorable. Cuba Street is a must in Wellington.
Walking up and down it can take minutes hours or days, depending on how entwined you get. The
eclectic smorgasbord of clothing shops, countless coffee shops, restaurants, clubs and bars, quirky,
small back-door art galleries (which are certainly worth investigating) and intriguing little side streets
that could lead to another world provide endless entertainment and stimulation. The people are
interesting and friendly and there is a phenomenal buzz in the air.

Moving further north, I landed in Rotorua, and it would be a shame to go there without seeing
the geothermal pools. I went to Wai-o-tapu, where bubbling mud pools, multi-coloured steaming
pools and geysers that shoot high into the air blew me away and are truly an amazing natural
phenomenon. The distinctive sulphurous smell was a reminder of how different and special this area
really is. Another of my favourite things about Rotorua and indeed of the entire country would be
the Zorb. It is a massive transparent ball into which people climb and is rolled down a hill, picking up
a surprising amount of speed as you watch the world fly by between tumbles and peals of laughter.
It was one of the best activities I ever done. I did mine through Ogo rather than at the Agro Dome,
as you get a longer stretch of grass down which to roll and thus it is far better value for money. I
recommend that you do the wet option where they fill the ball with water and also that you get the
photos or at least ask to see them afterwards – they are hilarious!

Another activity that I highly recommend is kayaking down the Whakapapa River in National Park.
I know that most people go to National Park to do the Tongariro Crossing, but when I was there
the weather was foul so we could not do the crossing - it is known to be an area with high weather
volatility. Thus, if you land up in National Park, the weather turns bad and you are at a loss for what
to do, ask around for the Adventure kayak company run by a woman called Sarah Cate. She will
come and collect you for the day and take you on a kayaking adventure you will never forget. She
is professional and laid back at the same time, a ball of energy and I guarantee you will have a well-
priced day saturated with fun and laughter.

I landed up in Auckland after a few weeks of travelling the North Island, needing to find work and
hoping to do a sailing course in the Bay of Islands, which I completed last week. If you are interested
in sailing and/or doing any sailing courses, I cannot recommend Bay Sail NZ highly enough. It is
run by Glen Caulton and from my first enquiry to the last goodbye, Glen went out of his way to
accommodate me and the others doing the course. The Bay of Islands is magnificent and seeing
it from a yacht is definitely one of the best ways to get the most out of the area. Glen does day
charters and a host of other yacht-based activities. All information can be found on his website. He
is an amazing sailor, very professional, I had complete faith in his ability, his 40ft sail yacht “She’s a
Lady” is wonderful to sail and be aboard and above all, Glen is a great man who is very easy-going
and easy to get along with.

After my sailing course, my bank balance was looking far worse for wear and thus I needed to get

a job. I have found one but it was not easy – I do not say this to frighten anyone, but it not always
a quick process to find a job. However, if you have the right attitude and keep at it, there is little
that will stand in your way if you put in the time and effort. From my limited experience, I highly
recommend that you take up-to-date CV’s to the streets and go in to companies/places to work
rather than relying mainly on web-based applications as you can feel the place out, meet some
faces and know right away how things have gone. If you drop off a CV, follow it up after a day or two
rather than waiting for them to get back to you – someone else may get the job otherwise.

In summary, I recommend that you get stuck into all that New Zealand has to offer. While the South
Island certainly is a special place, so is the North Island – there is plenty to do and see that is unlike
anywhere else and anything else, and it is definitely worth exploring. There are countless wonderful
small privately-owned companies who provide personal, small-group, well-run activities that are
worth supporting. If you do something with a company who offers you a good service, spread the
word to others so that everyone can benefit. Enjoy!

Gabriella Garnett


Submitted by: Gabriella Garnett
Date submitted: 20/04/2011 8:07:10 PM

Apple grading & stacking Fri Jun 8

Grape picking Fri Jun 8

Blueberry picking Fri Jun 8

Hop work in Motueka Tue May 16

Working as an apple packer in Motueka Mon May 9

Working for free accommodation in Wellington Thu Mar 24

From working holiday visa to a resident Thu Mar 24

From the big city to the field of kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

Working with Kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

The Christmas rush Mon Feb 29

Packing kiwifruit in Motueka Mon Feb 29

Asparagus picking Mon Feb 29

put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and get out there Tue May 27


The Gorilla Hut Sun May 26

Working in sales in NZ Mon May 13

Life as an apple picker Mon May 13

Marahau Sun May 5

hanging nets at isabel vinyard Mon Mar 25

Farm stay Tue Feb 5

Berry-Picking and Ice-Cream Making Tue Dec 18

Vineyard Work in Blenheim Sun Nov 25

Working As A "Milkman" Sat Aug 4

Being an au-pair Thu Aug 2

Grape harvesting in Central Otago Thu Aug 2

Whenever Wed Jun 6

Picking up the oil in Tauranga Mon May 21

Onion grading Sat May 12

Omarama, Place of Light Tue Apr 3

Napier or the job war Sun Apr 1

Some helpful tips Wed Feb 29

Fruit picking in Central Otago Mon Feb 27

Some useful tips Thu Feb 16

Fruit picking in Motueka Wed Jan 18

Where Do We Go From Here Tue Dec 20

Picked it, Packed it, Buggered Off! Tue Dec 20

Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it Tue Dec 20

I work to live, I don’t live to work Mon Dec 19

I only had $100 to my name Sun Nov 20

Odd Jobs In Central Otago Sun Nov 20

Peach thinning working experience Sun Nov 20

The young vines were frosted over Sun Nov 20

The work found me Sun Nov 20

Working for Watties Factory Mon Oct 24

Working New Zealand from a different perspective Mon Oct 24

I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand Mon Oct 24

My first job in vineyards was stripping Mon Oct 24

My happiness was indescribable Tue Oct 18

Working in a Packhouse in Auckland Tue Oct 18

Working on a vineyard in Blenheim Tue Oct 18

Cycling in New Zealand not friendly Tue Oct 18

Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand Mon Aug 22

Whale and Dolphin Watching Sat Aug 13

Cherry Picking in Central Otago Sat Aug 13

16 Argentinian people living there, it was awesome! Tue Jul 26

No one got payslips, really crazy Sat Jul 23

picked apples at first Sat Jul 23

In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival Sat Jul 23

cash-in-hand odd jobs Sat Jul 23

A rugby team we’ve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Let’s go teasing them! Sat Jul 23

Talking to strangers about charity Sat Jul 23

Fresh out of college Sat Jul 23

Working trees for $350 per week Sat Jul 23

German Windsurf Instructor in New Zealand Sun Jul 17

Vineyard work in South Island New Zealand Sun Jul 17

We had idea, get visa, sell everything and just go to New Zealand Sun Jul 17


Wilding Pines Sun Jul 17

boss was very nice and friendly Sun May 8

Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry Sun May 8

Mr Apple packhouse experience Mon May 2

North Island Notes Wed Apr 20

Fruitpicking in Napier Wed Apr 20

blueberry harvest season Thu Apr 7

bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too Thu Apr 7

Mate! You are on fire!! Sun Mar 20

The real vineyard work lowdown Fri Mar 11

I had pretty much run out of cash Wed Mar 9

The Land of New Zealand Mon Feb 28

Work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation Sat Feb 26

heard cattle on motorbikes Fri Feb 18

Traditional Maori hangi Thu Feb 17

Fortune Fruit and spitting cherry pits competitions Tue Feb 15

When I got to Whangamata... Sat Feb 12

I could romanticize it… Tue Dec 7

I thought it sounded interesting Tue Dec 7

My New Zealand adventure :) Wed Nov 3

Well I am from Mexico... Mon Oct 25

~New Zealand has no bandits and the relaxed lifestyle is second to none~ Fri May 14

New Zealand's got cheap banks!! Mon Apr 26

Tips from Latvia...yes not Russia ;) Tue Mar 16

First Job Thinning Apples... Mon Mar 1

Damn recession! Wed Feb 10

Loving New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

From aircrafts to vineyard work in New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

A Czech in New Zealand.. Fri Feb 5

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